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GIF File

GIF file format was developed in 1987 by a team of computer scientists at Compuserve. GIF format was introduced to facilitate efficient transfer of graphic images from the Compuserve servers. It became very popular because it used an efficient LZW (Lempel-Ziv-Welch) compression method which significantly reduced size of the information to transfer over the internet.

Since it was 1987 when GIF format was developed and lots of displays were still limited to 256 colors GIF only supports 256 different colors in its palette. Each color in GIF palette is 24-bit RGB color which give some flexibility in colors choice. But still it is not a good idea to store photos in GIF format since 256 colors are typically not enough for full color photos. Several techniques exist to store more than 256 colors in GIF to achieve true-color images but they are very rarely used and not supported by all applications.

GIF format supports storing multiple images in one file and animating between them. In 1990s Netscape added extension to GIF file which allowed continuous looping through GIF animation. Support for continuous animations was added in Netscape 2.0 and since then was adopted by other software even though it is not part of GIF89a specification.

Interlacing is also supported by GIF which allows downloading of lower resolution versions of the image prior to the full image download. This smoothens perception of website rendering during load on slower internet connections.

As of now GIF format is used on 27.7% of websites on the internet. GIF format found its niche for small animated images and storing logos or other website graphics taking advantage of lossless compression and small file size.

More details about GIF format are available on GIF wiki page in in GIF89a specification.

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HEIC Quick Info
Description: High Efficiency Image File Format
Encoding: High Efficiency Video Coding
  • image/heif
  • image/heic
  • image/heif-sequence
  • image/heic-sequence
HEIC file opens with
  • iOS Photo App
  • Microsoft Windows 10
  • Android P
  • Adobe Lightroom CC 2018
  • Adobe Photoshop CC 2018